Brennan Back In Court On Felony Counts As Lawmakers Back Suspension
January 17, 2019
A Livingston County judge appeared in court again – this time in regard to charges alleging she perjured herself and destroyed evidence in her divorce case.
The Michigan Attorney General's Office filed charges against 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan. Michigan State Police say she lied during a deposition about erasing data from her iPhone shortly after her ex-husband filed for divorce in 2016. She appeared Tuesday on the three felony counts in 67th District Court in Flint for a probable cause conference. A preliminary exam was set for March 21st.
Separately, Brennan is accused of unethical acts that could lead to her removal from the bench. The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission says Brennan used staff to perform personal services and failed to disclose a relationship with former State Police Detective Sean Furlong, the chief prosecution witness in the 2013 murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, over which Brennan presided. Kowalski’s conviction has since been vacated and a new trial ordered. On Tuesday, the Judicial Tenure Commission asked the Michigan Supreme Court to suspend Brennan without pay amid the allegations, stating "the public's confidence in the judiciary is eroded when a judge continues to enjoy the perquisites of her office after having admitted to engaging in felonious conduct." JTC Executive Director Lynn Helland tells WHMI that Brennan will get two weeks to respond to the petition, unless the court gives her more time. After that, the Michigan Supreme Court takes it under consideration and decides whether or not it wants to grant the petition.
Meanwhile, Livingston County’s three legislators issued a press release Wednesday in support of that petition. It states that since Brennan lost her court docket, Livingston County has paid Brennan $25,507.44 in salary as well as $28,580.60 in salary for the visiting judge who is covering in her absence. The release says in total, taxpayers have paid over $108,000 in salary expenses along with additional $75,000 in legal fees defending Brennan during her JTC complaint. (JM/JK)